Conference Speakers


Sheridan Ashford
Export Operations Manager, Summit Foresters New Zealand Limited

Sheridan Ashford is the Export Operations Manager for Summit Forests New Zealand & President of the Future Foresters New Zealand.

A recent graduate of University Of Canterbury’s School Of Forestry in 2013, Sheridan has since worked as a graduate forester for Kaingaroa Timberlands before she moved to her current role at Summit Forests. As well as leading the Future Foresters, Sheridan also sits on the New Zealand Forest Owners Association/ Farm Forestry Association Training & Careers Committee.

Future Foresters is a special interest group, as part of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry and was born from the realisation that forestry’s perception needs to change. This perception issue is currently hindering the awareness of forestry as a viable career pathway for young New Zealanders and Future Foresters seeks to be part of the solution to change this.

Since the official launch of the Future Foresters in July this year, they have begun to build a diverse membership base with a common goal to increase engagement & awareness of forestry as a diverse & rewarding profession within schools & tertiary providers.



Pamela Bell
Founder & CEO, Prefab NZ, Wellington, New Zealand

Pamela brings experience in architecture (MArch), Olympic-level sport (snowboarding), small business development (Fruition Apparel Ltd and NZ Snowboard Academy Ltd), governance (Snow Sports NZ) and management. 

Her Master of Architecture thesis ‘Kiwi Prefab: Prefabricated Housing in NZ’ led to the establishment of PrefabNZ, the heart of innovative construction in NZ. It also became the basis for the book ‘Kiwi Prefab: Cottage to Cutting Edge’ and the knowledge base for the ‘Kiwi Prefab: Cottage to Cutting Edge’ exhibition at Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth – Dec 1 2012 to Apr 1 2013. 

After the Canterbury earthquakes, Pamela led the PrefabNZ Home Innovation Village. HIVE showcased a range of ten high-quality, sustainable, well-designed prefabricated houses in Christchurch for 2012-2014. A commemorative book on HIVE was co-authored by Pamela and published in 2016.  

Today, she sits on the BRANZ Board and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Building Advisory Panel (BAP) and is a member of the Institute of Directors.



Oliver Broad
Communications Manager, Zespri, Tauranga, New Zealand

Oliver joined Zespri in August 2014 and is responsible for external and internal communications, tours and events. 

Before joining Zespri, Oliver was Head of Communications for BP in the Middle East, based in Abu Dhabi. He worked in various roles during 14 years with BP, including in internal communications, public relations, political risk and corporate social responsibility, based in the UK, Azerbaijan and the UAE. 

Oliver has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Durham and a Master’s degree in International Development from the University of Birmingham.



Julie Collins
Acting Head of Te Uru Rākau & Acting Deputy Director-General Forestry New Zealand

Julie Colins has a Bachelor of Forestry Science degree and more than 30 years’ experience in forestry and land use policy. She previously worked for the New Zealand Forest Service and its successor, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. This work involved the valuation of Crown forests, conservation policy for indigenous forests on private land and incorporating forestry and agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Julie also spent 15 years in the UK and held a senior role with the Forestry Commission, leading one of four England Forestry Strategy programmes. She worked with the forest industry to identify and solve their business issues and led work on renewable energy, grant development and sustainability initiatives.



Dr Jonathan Cutting
Avocado Technical Manager, Te Puke, New Zealand

Jonathan Cutting is the Avocado Technical Manager at Trevelyans Pack and Cool Limited. Trevelyans is a major postharvest operator located in Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty and services the Kiwifruit and Avocado industries.

Jonathan has formal qualifications, including a PhD in Agriculture (Horticultural Science). His early career was academic and research focussed and he held senior positions at the Universities of Natal and Stellenbosch in South Africa and Massey in New Zealand. Jonathan also has served time in sector management as Technical Manager and the first CEO of NZ Avocados and CEO of the Western Australian Fruit Growers Association (FruitWest).

Jonathans current interests are based around assisting growers achieve better orchard performance using the best technology and technical advancements available and with a strong focus on producing “quality” fruit. In his spare time, he immerses himself in his own avocado orchard and bee enterprises located on the outskirts of Raglan.



Dr. Julian Elder
Chief Executive, Scion, Rotorua, New Zealand

Dr. Julian Elder was appointed Chief Executive of Scion in March 2017. He joined Scion as an experienced Chief Executive, having led large-scale civil infrastructure projects in waste treatment, renewables, telecommunications, energy and water. He has a successful track record leading multi-stakeholder complex ventures, delivering sustained profitable growth to utility, contracting and professional services businesses across Asia Pacific.

Julian has international business experience along with experience in applying leading-edge technology to meet business needs. He led WEL Networks Limited from 2007 to 2014 and the associated Waikato Networks Limited from 2011 to 2014, doubling the size of the combined business during his tenure. Prior to that role he was Chief Engineer at Watercare Services from 2005 to 2007. 

Graduating from the University of Auckland with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1984, Julian is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and a Chartered Professional Engineer. He is currently Chair of the Waikato Regional Theatre Governance Panel and a Director of Flick Electric Company, and until recently a Director of Soda Inc., Enterprise Angels, New Zealand Wind Farms, a trustee of the Waikato Animal Welfare Foundation and a member of the University of Waikato Honours Committee.



Robert Green
CEO, Timberlands Limited, Rotorua, New Zealand

Formerly the CEO of VicForests (2011 - 2016) and Director for Sales and Contracting (2009 – 2011), Robert arrived at Timberlands with extensive experience in hardwood and softwood, plantation and natural forestry, as well as background in primary and secondary processing, import, export and distribution.

Prior to his time in Australia, Robert was a Divisional Manager for Snavely Forest Products in San Francisco, USA.

He started his career at CHH Wood Products, moved to CHH Forests, and then joined Thames Timber.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) with Honours, from the University of Otago.



Hayden Green
Commercial Manager, Eastland Ports, Gisborne

Hayden Green is Commercial Manager for Eastland Ports, including New Zealand’s most efficient logging port, as well as Gisborne Airport, Eastland and Northland Debarking operations and Eastland Investment Properties within the wider Eastland Group.

Eastland Group specialises in regional infrastructure, including ports, electricity distribution and transmission networks, and electricity generation.

With international experience across the primary sectors in New Zealand, USA and UK, Hayden is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of commerce and science. Hayden holds a Bachelor in Business Studies, Bachelor in Biological Sciences, an MBA and is a Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors



Philip Gregan
CEO, New Zealand Wine Growers, New Zealand

Philip Gregan is the Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Winegrowers, the national industry organisation that represents, researches and promotes the interests of New Zealand grape growers and wine makers.

NZW conducts a wide range of activities including: coordination of research programmes to progress the grape and wine industry; provision of a generic marketing platform for New Zealand wine makers in key markets; stewardship of “brand New Zealand wine”; provision of timely and accurate data and business information to grape growers and wine makers; and, representation of industry interests to national and local Government and in international fora.

Philip has been with New Zealand Winegrowers and its predecessor, the Wine Institute of New Zealand, since starting as a Research officer in 1983. He has held the role of Chief Executive Officer since 1990. Philip has gained Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Hons) degrees, majoring in Geography, from the University of Auckland.



Catherine Marks
Special Counsel, Public Law and Policy, Russell McVeagh

Catherine is a valued special counsel in the Russell McVeagh Public Law and Policy Team. 

Based in our Wellington office, she practises in administrative and regulatory law and public law litigation. Catherine's public law experience is extensive and includes advice on public sector procurement and governance issues, overseas investment, law reform and judicial review. Key areas of specialisation include regulatory work in the forestry, electricity, gas, telecommunications and banking sectors. 

Catherine, along with wider members of the Public Law and Policy team, have been closely involved in the reform of the Overseas Investment Act to make it easier for forestry assets to be sold and facilitated complex forestry applications with the Overseas Investment Office. 

Catherine was a partner in a small public law-focused firm in London. She returned to New Zealand in 2005 to work at a Wellington-based boutique public law firm before joining Russell McVeagh in 2008.



Wayne Miller
Technical Development Manager, Tenon Clearwood LP, Taupo, New Zealand

Wayne is currently Technical Development Manager for Tenon Clearwood LP, which focusses on high grade (Clear) radiata pine products in US, Europe, and Australasian markets. His work involves market development, technical and marketing support for product sales, and new product and process development. 

Originally a Chemical Engineer graduating from University of Canterbury in 1973, Wayne initially worked as a Scientist in the Wood Drying Section at Forest Research Institute (now Scion) and progressed to leading wood utilisation research within the Wood Processing Group. He has also held positions with Forestry Corporation of NZ in a market development role, working in various international markets looking at opportunities for radiata pine products, and Fletcher Challenge Forests. 

Wayne has also played a key role as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the research consortia: Wood Quality Initiative (WQI), and Solid Wood Initiative (SWI).



Dennis Neilson
Director, DANA (NZ) Ltd, New Zealand

Dennis is a Director of the New Zealand based forest industry advisory, publishing and conference and industry tour organising company, DANA (NZ) Limited. Dennis has had previous experience in almost all aspects of the forestry and forest products sector working for Fletcher Challenge and regularly travels to several overseas countries to update his information base on the industry. He has been a Director of a eucalyptus plantation- owning company, and a wood export company.
Dennis has been the author/co-author of eleven editions of the New Zealand Forest Industry Sector Review, the most recent will be published later in 2018. He co-authoured the 2017 Global Tree Farm Review published by Boston based RISI, and in early 2018 authored and published the startling Review "Rotten to the Core - The inside Story of New Zealands Looming Leaky Homes Catastrophe".
In 2017 Dennis and DANA (NZ) Ltd planned and organised Conferences and Field Trips in Rotorua, New Zealand; Kruger National Park, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; Argentina, South America; and co-organised a Conference with RISI in London. 2018 DANA Events include an Industry Tour to China, plus Conferences and Field Trips in Taupo, New Zealand; Launceston, Australia; Villahermosa and Cancun, Mexico; and a co-organised Conference with RISI in New York City.



Warwick Neumann
Principal, DragonWood Ttd, taupo, New Zealand

Warwick has spent his entire working life involved in manufacturing operations largely related to the forestry, sawmilling and associated value added processing including laminated lumber, plywood, LVL, mechanical pulp and corrugated packaging industry. He has held senior operational management roles for a number of large New Zealand companies including Juken New Zealand and Fletchers/Tenon and has reinforced his practical experience with an MBA majoring in Operational Management and International Business.

He has considerable experience across the entire supply chain from raw resource procurement, through manufacturing, both operational and engineering, to eventual market. With involvement in green field and capital projects up to $150 million, responsibilities include initial feasibility studies, resource consents, equipment selection through to commissioning and start up.

Warwick is a principal of DragonWood Limited, a New Zealand registered China based import/export business (primarily wood related) that he co-founded and has directed since 2008.



David Raudkivi
Partner, Corporate Advisory, Russell McVeagh

David is a specialist in investment and acquisition of forestry assets. 

He has over 14 years of experience in the sector and has acted on some of the largest forestry transactions in New Zealand, with past and present key clients including Hancock Natural Resource Group, Prudential Timber Investments, Viking Global and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as well as UniSuper (Australia) and Manufacturer's Life. In particular, David successfully led the sale of the Tasman Bay estate comprising approximately 30,000 ha to Sumitomo in 2015. David is described in the Legal 500 (2018 edition) as a "standout practitioner". 

David joined Russell McVeagh in 2003, before gaining overseas experience and returning to the firm in 2010. He was promoted to Partner in 2015. He is admitted in New Zealand and in New York.



Michael Reaburn
General Manager Lumber, Pan Pac Forest Products Limited, Napier, New Zealand

Michael Reaburn is the General Manager Lumber for Pan Pac Forest Products Limited. Pan Pac Lumber Division operates two Sawmills in New Zealand at Whirinaki and Milburn and is currently producing 550,000m³ of appearance grade lumber annually, utilizing a million tonnes of logs. Pan Pac is New Zealand’s largest exporter of radiata pine lumber to China and exports 85% of its production to USA, Europe, Asia, Japan and Middle Eastern markets.

With over 25 years experience in leadership, manufacturing and exporting previously having roles with Fletcher Building and the Stevenson Group, Michael has led Pan Pac Forest Products growth in it’s sawmill capacity from 283,000m³/a to 550,00m³/a over the last few years to meet market growth demand and diversity targets.

Michael holds an honours degrees in Science and Business.



Dr Cheng Shouneng
Vice President, China Forestry Industry Federation, Beijing, China

Dr Cheng is also currently Deputy Secretary General of the Sino Russian Federation of Wood Industry; Member of the China Forestry and Environmental Promotion Association; and Director of the Forestry Society of China. 

As CEO and China Forestry Director of the Hong Kong Listed company Forest Resource Group, Dr Cheng has more than 20 years experience in operations, project management and forest industry supply chain investment and management. 

Prior to this Dr Cheng worked at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Xinhua with his main research and responsibility being Sino – US – Soviet Relations. Dr Cheng was also senior journalist and formerly deputy editor in chief of Xinhua news agency, China Photo Press.



Mark Smith
Partner, Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), New Zealand

Mark Smith has worked for major corporates in New Zealand in the forest and forest product sectors (Fletcher Paper and Carter Holt Harvey ) in roles across strategic planning, operations management, R&D, new product development as well as running start-up businesses looking to commercialise new product and process technologies in the timber industry.

He was involved in significant work looking at applying wood modification technologies developed in Europe (acetylation, furfurylation and thermal modification) and how these could be applied to NZ wood species. This work has primarily been in New Zealand but has involved activity in Australia. Recently Mark has been involved more in looking at how wood, especially mass timber, can be utilised more in the New Zealand construction.

Mark has a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and is responsible for FEA business opportunities in New Zealand and Australia.



Tony Spelman
Corporate Development Manager, Swire Shipping, Auckland, New Zealand

Tony Spelman is the Corporate Development Manager for Swire Shipping, the deep-sea shipping arm of the China Navigation Company Pte. Ltd.

Based in Auckland, Tony joined Swire in 2009 and handles strategic business development across the company’s various divisions relating to ocean freight and logistics projects. Before joining Swire, Tony was General Manager Sales & Marketing at Roadstar, part of a joint venture between DHL and NZ post, he is also an Executive member of the Japan New Zealand Business Council, New Zealand’s longest standing business grouping with Asia.

Swire Shipping and sister companies Swire Bulk and Quadrant Pacific have extensive involvement in the forestry export business from New Zealand covering, containerised, break bulk and bulk shipping, primarily to the Asia Pacific markets.



Craig Stephenson
Project Manager Geothermal, Contact Energy Limited, Taupo, New Zealand

Craig Stephenson is a Project Manager with Contact Energy Limited, specialising in geothermal exploration and appraisal as well as geothermal business development.

Craig has been involved with Contact since 2004 in a variety of roles. Prior to joining Contact Craig held senior environmental positions with NZ Sugar and in the oil industry in South Africa.

Craig’s current focus is on developing alternative uses of geothermal energy, specifically geothermal direct use projects, as well as the extraction of valuable minerals from the geothermal fluids. Recently Craig has been part of a Contact-Ngati Tahu team advising the electricity sector in Kenya regarding geothermal energy developments and indigenous population relationships.



Jeff Tombleson
Forestry Professional, Jeff Tombleson & Associates Ltd

Jeff began his Forest Management research career at the Forest Research Institute Rotorua in the 1970s. In the latter years of his research career at Scion, Jeff was engaged as a Business Development Manager, with a Key Account into Chile. This work enthused Jeff whereby he became self-employed working for wood processing technology providers Microtec and Springer out of Central Europe.

Jeff’s current focus is providing forest management services, carbon forestry administration for ETS grower Participants, provision of expert witness services, special (forestry) consultant to the Maori Land Court, working on projects in Chile, and here in NZ marketing some of the wave of wood for clients via Stumpage Tenders and the same in Australia. Jeff’s passion for forestry extended to investment in the 1990s farm-based plantings, and in an ever-changing forestry world Jeff maintains his passion to further the interests of this exciting industry.



Rob van Rossen
Director of Acquisitions, Australasia – Campbell Global LLC

Rob van Rossen is Director of Acquisitions, Australasia, for Campbell Global LLC. Campbell Global is a leading timberland investment manager for clients with forest and wood products assets in USA, Australia. A large timberland acquisition in New Zealand is expected to complete during 2018. 

Rob is based in New Zealand and leads the company's sourcing and evaluation of timberland investments in Australasia. With more than three decades of experience with large corporates in the forest and wood products industry, he brings a deep understanding of timberland investments in Australia and New Zealand. Rob's experience covers forest management and production, logistics, domestic and export log sales, R&D, sawmilling, and medium density fiberboard manufacture.



Marty Verry
CEO-Chair, Red Stag Group, Rotorua, New Zealand

Marty is the CEO and Chair of Red Stag group, a vertically integrated wood processing group based in Rotorua. The Red Stag group runs the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sawmill, as well as vertically integrated forest, frame and truss, pre-fabrication and property development businesses. A new Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) plant is also being commissioned for opening in 2019. 

The Red Stag Timber mill has doubled per employee productivity in the last decade and tripled annual production to 550,000m3, with 900,000 tonnes of logs. 2018 sees the site hit 600,000m3 production from 1 million tonnes of log input. 

Marty facilitates the industry-government working group to implement the coalition government’s wood first programme. His talk will cover the pathway Red Stag has taken and plans underway to make ‘Wood the Norm in Mid-Rise By 2030’ in New Zealand.



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